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March 22, 2002

Trout

There are a number of ways to look at a problem. But the most common are either quick and simple or long and more complex. Here’s an outline of how they are different.

The Quick Look
The quick look is what is called a one-day consultancy. It starts by sending us a short synopsis of the situation and the problem as you see it, as well as product background and something about the competition. This affords us an advance reading for the situation. During the session, the problems and opportunities are isolated, concepts are developed and a plan of action is laid out. These sessions are good at setting direction but, obviously, a little short on details. Generally, people leave with a good sense of knowing what has to be done and why.
The Longer Look
The more complex project has that same one-day but it’s only the start of a several month project. During this briefing day, we also gather all available research, product information and a competitive analysis. These sessions are candid with no-holds barred. With this in hand, we then develop an outline of the key issues and how to best deal with them. What emerges is a more detailed look at the strategic options and how to best verbalize them. What we’re looking for is that competitive mental angle upon which a company can build a marketing program against its competitors.

Prototype Communications
With a strategy in hand, we develop prototype communications that bring our recommendations to life. These are presented in the form that best fits a company’s basic communications. For example, for Procter & Gamble we developed prototype television commercials. For Merck, we developed a prototype sales presentation.

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